Thursday, July 13, 2006
Gripping Gaza Personal Testimonies
And here's information from Lama Hourani via forwarded e-mail:
Returning home from the restaurant where we watched the final game between Italy and France. My son, Luai, asked me: “Mommy, where are Marwan and Isam (his friends). I miss them.” I said, “Marwan is in France and Isam is in Amman.” "How did they get there when the borders are closed?" "Well they left before they were closed and they are now stuck outside Gaza." Luai answered, "You know, I will get a real gun and go to Rafah and shoot and kill the Israeli army there so that Isam and Marwan and Jiddo (grandpa) Fayssal can come here. Then I will go to Damascus to Teta (grandma) Rawda and celebrate my birthday there.- Don’t worry, they won’t kill me, I will kill them."
I didn't know what to tell him. He is not even four and talks this way. I don't let him watch the news but he still feels the occupation.
This morning we woke up with the electricity working. Luai went to the refrigerator and opened it widely, saying very happily: "Mommy, there is electricity, you see, I can open the refrigerator as wide and as long as I want to. He opened it and stood in front of it for minutes without taking anything from it. Then he went to the television set and turned on to watch "Tom & Jerry". He was so happy. He hasn't watched it for a long time now. But this lasted only for 10 minutes and then the electricity was cut off.
I'm glad that Luai does not wake up in the middle of the night during the bombing and the shelling. He sleeps deeply. He is experiencing a lot of new things now: Seeing the helicopters very low and hearing their loud noise from the yard of our building. Watching them even while they are shooting and bombing. Getting stuck in the elevator with other kids because the electricity is cut suddenly and not crying. Changing his entire routine (sleeping time, visiting times, not swimming in the sea, having dinner by candlelight, not having a daily bath, not reading a bedtime story but reading it in the afternoons. Getting to know a new game "Jews and Arabs" with the kids in the building. Getting to learn new words like death, bomb, and kill….etc.
Knowing the difference between the Jews, Israelis and the Israeli Army is what occupies his mind now.
The new problem with him is that he's afraid to sleep alone in his bedroom when the electricity is off. He's sleeping in our bedroom now. Since he was four months old I put him in a separate room.
Having these personal problems in my mind always, I still share the worries of everybody here, how long will this situation stay like this, actually how long will we, the people living in Gaza and theWest Bank be the hostages of the terrorist, racist Government of Israel.
We still go to work, follow as much as we can our programmes and activities with the different groups of women.
We are also concerned about Hanan and her family. They are all right physically. The Israeli soldiers left their house on Saturday morning. Amira Hass wrote in detail in the Ha’aretz about the family's suffering during the occupation of their house. It is obvious that Hanan is not like before. She's more tense, less comic about the issues and always worried about her husband and children. The children themselves are traumatized and still in shock.
I went to visit her in the house with other colleagues from work. When we approached the house and saw the garden I felt like crying. I was happy to see all of them alive and healthy. But the destruction we saw in the garden is unbelievable. I cannot even find words to describe it.
Life continues with the same problems. We have less and less electricity every day. Now we have only a few hours during the day, and about 4-6 hours during the night while we are sleeping and we can't do anything at home.
It has its advantages though, we sleep earlier, have more time for socializing with the neighbors, and we have the privilege not to watch the brutality of the Israeli attacks on us directly on television.
Still, we can hear the news on the radio. We still live under the continuous sound of the no-pilot planes that are over our heads twenty four hours a day. They have a very loud and disturbing sound like a constant buzzing. Added to that the sound of the F16s and the Apaches. Also the canon shelling all the time at different areas around us.
The sonic bombs have stopped since the Israeli soldiers entered the north. It seems that they don't want to disturb their people with them. I would like to believe that there was international pressure on the Israelis to stop these bombs but somehow, I really don't think so.